Paula Pulls Out

Paula Radcliffe says "it hurts so much" to know she won't be able to run in the Olympic women's marathon.

The 38 year old marathon legend - from Bedford - has had to pull out with a foot problem.

Despite winning loads of marathons around the world, she's failed to pick up a medal in her four previous Olympics, and suffered heartbreak in Athens and Beijing.

A statement on the UK Athletics website on Sunday 29 July 2012 read: "The British Olympic Association and UK Athletics announced this afternoon that marathon athlete Paula Radcliffe is being withdrawn from Team GB due to medical reasons.

"Radcliffe has been suffering with a foot problem and after a fitness test on Sunday it was concluded that she would not be able to race competitively to the best of her abilities.''

A statement from Paula said: "From the day when it was announced that London had won the bid, taking part and performing well in the London Olympic Games has been a major goal in my life.

"The goal of a fifth Olympics in my home country, what better? The chance to make amends to myself for bitter disappointments at the previous two Olympics.

"Through a lot of tough times it has kept me fighting, motivated and focused. That is why it hurts so much to finally admit to myself that it isn't going to happen.

"My sport is a beautiful sport, it gives so much fun and enjoyment, I believe it helps me to be a better person, and I have been very fortunate to experience some great success and have so many beautiful and happy memories.

"However, the downside is that it can break your heart and spirit many times over when your body is simply unable to match what your heart and brain want it to do.

"Sadly mine is not a career or a hobby where mind over matter can work when your body is hurt, nor where giving less than your best each day can ever work.''

She continued: "Yes, I made more commitment than ever in preparation this year, two months away from the three most important people in my life. However, every single athlete out there makes the same commitments, puts their all into their preparation, and sadly I am not the only one to suffer heartbreak in trying to go after our goals.

"The most important thing is, as I always believe, to know that you did all you could in going after those dreams.

"It is hard to know that had the Olympics been six weeks earlier I could have gone out there and run confidently knowing that I was in the best shape I had been in for a while, but I am by no means the first to experience something like this.

"No-one tells us in advance where the limits of our own bodies lie, and pushing these limits is the only way we can ever achieve our highest goals and dreams.

"However hard today is, finally closing the door on that dream, at least I can know that I truly have tried absolutely everything.

"As desperate as I was to be part of the amazing experience of the London Olympics, I don't want to be there below my best. If I can't be there and give it my best, then I would rather someone else who can do that is able to be there.

"I have been through the mill emotionally and physically the past three weeks, cried more tears than ever, vented more frustration and at the same time calmly tried every direction and avenue available to heal myself.

"Now is the time to rest totally, give my body chance to recover and assess calmly what can be done and where I go from here.''

The 38-year-old hinted she would carry on running despite the long-term nature of the injury.

"For details on my foot...yes that joint is degenerative and badly damaged,'' she said.

"The same foot that I was told in 1994 I would never run on again!

"I refused to believe it then and I don't believe now that it can't recover and be carefully managed to allow me to still do what I love to do.

"Unfortunately though, that isn't going to happen in one week.''

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